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Cost Effectiveness Analysis And Fairness 1

Cost Effectiveness Analysis and Fairness 1

F.M. Kamm
Harvard University

This article considers some different views of fairness and whether they conflict
with the use of a version of Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) that calls for maximizing health benefits per dollar spent. Among the concerns addressed are whether this
version of CEA ignores the concerns of the worst off and inappropriately aggregates
small benefits to many people. I critically examine the views of Daniel Hausman and
Peter Singer who defend this version of CEA and Eric Nord among others who criticize it. I come to focus in particular on the use of CEA in allocating scarce resources
to the disabled.

Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) in medical care tries to maximize health benefits produced per dollar spent. Its use is recommended when society cannot afford
every form of health care and must chose what to provide. Yet it is often taken as a
truism that there can be deep conflicts between maximizing benefits and distributing
fairly, in general. For example, the philosopher Robert Nozick imagined a Utility
Monster [where utility is (roughly) experiential well being] such that for any resource up for distribution, one always produces more additional benefit at less cost if
one gives the resource to the Monster rather than to others even though he is already

1.1.This paper is a response to Daniel Hausmans How Can We Ration Health Care Fairly
and Humanely as originally presented at Bioethical Reflections: A Conference in Honor of Dan
Brock, at Harvard Medical School Nov 22. 2014. All references to Hausman are to that paper.
Hausman focused on Brocks discussions of the problems of fair chances, priority to the worse off,
aggregation, and discrimination raised in several of his articles, including Ethical Issues in the Use
of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis for the Prioritization of Health Care. Hence, the order in which I
discuss some issues in this paper follows the order in which Hausman chose to discuss Brocks work.
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much better off than they. This would result in one person getting all the additional
benefits while all others get none. This seems unfair.
CEA cannot result in this most extreme form of unfairness because of limits
that result from how it calculates benefits. Each additional year of very healthy life
is given a value of 1; no one can get more than 1 per year. Still, it is possible that only
those who are already very healthy can achieve many additional years at a value of 1 at
low cost if they are saved from an otherwise fatal bacteria. Maximizing health benefits
per cost would imply helping them rather than people who are not as healthy and can
achieve only fewer additional years at a value of less than 1 and at higher cost if they
are saved from the same threat. This too seems unfair.
Why does it seem unfair to help only the Utility Monster and the healthy people?
Fairness is about how one person is treated relative to another. This is by contrast
with a notion such as justice which need not be comparative; that is, we could decide
what justice requires that we give a person in virtue of his conduct independently
of considering what anyone else is owed. Hence, we could treat someone justly in
giving him what he is owed and thereby increase unfairness because we treat him
justly while not treating anyone else justly. [For example, we might punish some who
deserve this even if we cannot punish all who do. This case also shows that fairness is
only one moral dimension on which we can evaluate how we treat people or states of
affairs we produce; it is possible that we should sometimes override fairness to be just
(or to achieve some other moral value).]
According to what measure shall we compare people to see if each is being
treated fairly relative to others? Suppose we think that all that fairness requires in
allocating benefits is that a certain amount of benefit be given the same value regardless of the person who will be benefited; no extra value should be assigned to
a certain amount of benefit in person A rather than in person B. We could call this
the Simple Standard. According to this standard, Nozicks Utility Monster and our
CEA Bacteria case need not involve unfairness, for we could give the same value to
a certain amount of benefit in the lives of everyone but it happens that more benefits
can be produced in the Utility Monster and in the already healthy. These examples
suggest that there may be more to fairness than the Simple Standard.
Indeed, there are different views about what fairness requires and deciding
which is right is no easy matter. In this article, I will call attention to some different
views of what fairness requires and consider whether, according to these views, fairness problems arise in the medical context as a result of using a version of CEA that
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always emphasizes maximizing health benefits per dollar spent. Without pretending
to settle the matter, I will raise some issues to consider. However, it is important to
realize that even if there are problems with this version of CEA, this does not imply
that it is never consistent with fairness to use some form of cost effectiveness evaluation. For example, it seems fair and right to treat one hundred people equally well
with a cheap drug rather than an expensive one, other things equal. It would also be
fair and right to use a drug with which we can save two hundred people rather than
an equally costly one with which we can save only one hundred of these people.
1. Some think that when we cannot help everyone, fairness requires that
people get a chance for medical care in proportion to their need for it, regardless of
outcome in terms of CEA. For example, imagine that we can produce more cures per
dollar if we treat six people with one fatal disease rather than only five people with
another fatal disease. In this case the route to maximizing health benefits involves
giving a life saving benefit to more rather than fewer equally needy people, by contrast with Nozicks Utility Monster. Hence, this case raises the question of whether
it is unfair to save a greater number of people rather than give each group a chance
to be saved in proportion to the need of each multiplied by the number of people in
the group. Some think that fairness does not demand giving chances in proportion
to need in the group but itself requires counting numbers of people, balancing one
person of similar need (and, perhaps, expected outcome) against another and allowing the greater number to get the resource. On this view fairness does not require
giving some chance to be helped to fewer people, when all suffer from equally serious
Nevertheless, even on this view of fairness it may be right to give equal chances
to be saved to two groups if they each contain the same number of people of equally
sick people when we only have enough resources to treat one type of fatal disease.
But proponents of CEA should see no reason to give equal chances if outcome per
dollar would be the same. It is only if we take seriously the personal perspectives of
each person, and so recognize that each person is not indifferent to whether he or
someone else survives, that we see why fairness could sometimes require giving equal
chances to different people even when their need and outcome are the same. (If we
take seriously the perspectives of different people, we might even think it is wrong
to deprive one person of his 50% chance to be treated merely because we would get a
slightly better outcome if another person were treated.)
We have been focusing on cases in which each person needs a cure for a fatal
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disease. However, if the original view of fairness that we considered (requiring

chances in proportion to the strength of peoples need) were true, someone who has
a weak need for a scarce resource should get a small chance to get it. But does fairness really require giving a small chance to someone who needs the resource to cure
his sore throat so that if against great odds he wins, someone else who needs the
resource to save his life dies? Would we be overriding fairness in order to achieve a
better outcome if we did not give the person with a sore throat a chance? I suspect not
for in other cases achieving a better outcome would not lead us to override what fairness really requires. For example, suppose a doctor and a janitor both equally need
a scarce life-saving medicine. If the doctor survives, he can save someone elses life
from another illness, the janitor cannot. Although we could achieve a better outcome
if we save the doctor (two people saved rather than one), this need not be sufficient
reason to deny equal chances to the doctor and janitor in need of the scarce medicine.
If we would not override fairness in this case to achieve the better outcome, this suggests that if we deny the person with the sore throat a proportional chance, we are
doing so because we do not think fairness requires his having a chance, not because
we are overriding fairness for the sake of a better outcome.
Hence, I have argued that while CEA does not necessarily contravene fairness in
not giving chances to individuals in proportion to their need, it may fail to recognize
an appropriate role for giving equal chances when need and outcome would be the
2. a. Another possible fairness concern about CEA is that it is indifferent to
whether an equally cost effective benefit, such as relief from a certain amount of pain,
goes to someone moderately ill or to someone severely ill. Some think fairness requires that the severely ill should be preferred. Indeed, it might be thought that fairness requires providing even a somewhat smaller benefit to those who are severely
ill rather than a larger benefit to those who are moderately ill, holding cost constant.
A prioritarian view of what fairness requires implies, roughly, that it is reasonable
that the claim to benefits of those who are worse off should be weighed more heavily
than those who are better off because it is right to give priority to improving the condition of a worse off person before improving someone who is already better off than

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he is.2 This view of fairness implies, contrary to the Simple Standard, that a given
benefit in one person should sometimes have greater value than the same benefit in
another person. (However, giving priority to the worse off is not the same as always
caring for the worse off regardless of benefit that can be achieved.)
b. A third fairness concern about CEA is that providing minor, inexpensive
health improvements (such as teeth fillings) in many people may be more cost effective than providing bigger, more expensive improvements (such as treating appendicitis) in a few, but fairness may require giving greater weight to the latter. This
issue arises because CEA permits summing small benefits to each of many people
to produce a large aggregate benefit that is then weighed against a smaller aggregate
benefit composed of summing bigger benefits to a few people. The question is when
it is fair to aggregate and weigh smaller benefits to some people against bigger benefits
to others to decide how to allocate scarce resources.3 This question about aggregation is sometimes related to the issue of not giving priority to the worse off, when
the small benefits would go to many people already better off and the bigger benefits
would to go to a few people more severely ill.
c. Let us consider these second and third concerns about the fairness of CEA
in greater detail. With regard to the second, some think that willingness to help the
severely ill even when this produces fewer benefits per dollar need not depend on a
prioritarian conception of fairness. Rather it can reflect compassion for those in dire
straits. Dan Hausman argues for this. On his view CEA is the reasonable, rational,
and not unfair way to decide how to allocate medical resources but we sometimes
override it because of compassion for the severely ill. On this view, compassion can
conflict with reason (even if it does not always), and it is this compassion (rather than
a reasonable view of fairness), that can lead us to help the severely ill when doing so
conflicts with CEA.
One problem with this view is that it can seem fair and reasonable to give priority to treating those who are only moderately ill rather than those slightly ill even
though compassion is not triggered for the former in the way it is for those in dire
2.There is a noncomparative view about giving priority to the worse off according to which the
moral value of giving a benefit to someone varies with how well off in absolute terms that person is
the worse off, the greater the value. This view does not require comparing how well off someone is
relative to others. I am focusing on the comparative prioritarian view in taking it to be an interpretation of fairness which is a comparitive value.
3.It is not unfair to aggregate and weigh small benefits to a few against the same small benefits to
many others, other things equal. But I am concerned with aggregating and weighing smaller benefits
against bigger ones.
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straits. Similarly, we do not now feel greater compassion for twenty year olds who
we know will die in thirty years at age 50 than for twenty year olds who we know will
die at age 65. Yet we might still think it is morally right to invest in research that will
buy five more good years for those who would die at 50 rather than in research that
will buy 7 more good years for those who will die at 65, even if this conflicts with
CEA. Presumably, this is because it seems reasonable to help people who would be
worse off when they die, in having had shorter lives, than to help people who would
be better off, in having had longer lives, even if they are not helped. This reflects a
prioritarian conception of fairness.
Here is another problem with the view that it is compassion rather than a conception of fairness based on reason that sometimes conflicts with CEA. We often
override compassion to do what is morally reasonable. For example, we may feel
greater compassion for an incurably blind person who will also have to deal with
a second problem if his arthritis is not treated than for a sighted person who will
become (only) nearly blind if he is not treated. In this case, holding other factors constant, the blind arthritic will be the worst off person if he is not treated. Yet it seems
morally acceptable and reasonable to cure the more severe condition of near blindness rather than the less disabling condition of arthritis, when we cannot do both.
Suppose it is morally right to resist the call of compassion in this case. Then perhaps
in other cases when we do not give up on helping the worst off person though helping
him conflicts with CEA, it is because giving up would be contrary to reason and fairness rather than to compassion. This would imply that sometimes CEA is not the
reasonable and fair approach.
Further support for the view that CEA does not necessarily coincide with what
is reasonable and fair comes from considering the third concern mentioned above,
whether it is always fair to aggregate small health benefits to many people and weigh
the aggregate against the smaller aggregate of bigger benefits to fewer people, when
the benefits to each group cost the same. Suppose that each of many people has a
mild headache and is otherwise already much better off health wise than someone
whom we can save from appendicitis. Suppose that none of the many people is a
compassionate person and each would give up no more than the money for an aspirin
that could cure his headache in order to help a dying person. But there are so many
of these people with mild headaches that the aggregated harm of many headaches
that would occur if each sacrificed the money for an aspirin is greater than the harm
prevented in using the money to save the person with appendicitis. Though none of
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the people is rescuing the one person because of compassion for him, presumably
they would not change their individual aiding behavior on the grounds that the aggregated loss to all of them is so enormous by comparison to one persons loss of life.
No one has to be compassionate in order to realize that it would be a bizarre mistake
of reason to treat the very large aggregate of small losses to each of the many people
as if it had the same moral significance as a very large loss to a single person that was
suffered to prevent a smaller loss to another person.
Some suggest that the fair way to decide what to do in such cases, when the
small harm (such as a headache) is occurring to each of many separate persons, is to
compare, in a pair wise fashion, how much harm would be suffered and avoided by a
severely ill person depending on whether he is helped with how much harm would be
suffered and avoided by each of the the many depending on whether they are helped.
Fairness is comparative but it requires comparing how we treat individual persons,
one person at a time. Suppose that no one of the many will suffer anywhere near as
great a loss as the single person would. Then if our view of fairness combines pairwise comparison with priority to the worse off, curing a headache in each of many
people would never take precedence over curing even one much worse off person.
A conception of fairness that involves these two componentspairwise comparison
and prioritarianismwould justify the third concern with CEA.
By contrast, Peter Singer, a philosopher who supports CEA, believes it is morally
correct to aggregate smaller individual benefits to better off people and weigh the aggregate against a bigger individual benefit to a worse off person. For example, in a New
York Times Magazine article on rationing (Singer 2009), he considered how to compare
the health benefit achieved in saving one persons life with curing a serious condition such as quadriplegia that does not threaten another persons life. He tells us to
consider the trade-off each person would reasonably make in his own life between
length of life and quality of life. Suppose every person (already disabled or not) would
be indifferent between living ten years as a quadriplegic and living five years nondisabled. This seems to indicate that people take living as a quadriplegic to be half
as good as living nondisabled.4 Singer thinks that such data would show that using
our resources to cure two quadriplegics is just as good as saving someone elses life
when all three people would have the same life expectancy if helped (for example, ten
4.I say seems because it is possible that as the absolute number of years unparalyzed decreases
(even if the ratio of unparalyzed to paralyzed years in the choice does not fall below ), people would
no longer be indifferent.
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years). His reasoning seems to be that if someone would give up five out of ten years
of his own life rather than be quadriplegic, that would justify curing one persons
quadriplegia rather than saving someone elses life for five years, and the combined
benefit of curing two people with quadriplegia would justify not saving the life of
another person who would live for ten years.
Several things seem problematic about this reasoning. First, in the tradeoff
between quality and quantity that a person might make in his own life, it is that person
who benefits from the tradeoff. When we make tradeoffs between different people,
the people who get the improved quality of life are not the same people who suffer the
loss of more years of life. Trade offs between people may raise different moral issues
than the trade off within one life. This is related to the point made earlier that fairness considerations arise when we take seriously that different people are not indifferent to whether benefits and losses fall in someone elses life or their own. Second,
the conclusion that curing two quadriplegics who would live for 10 years anyway is
equal to saving for ten years of life someone else who would otherwise die depends
on aggregating the benefit to two people to weigh against the loss to the single person.
We can see how problematic this is by considering the following example: Suppose
that the trade-off test within one persons life showed that a small disability (e.g. a
permanently damaged ankle) made life only 95% as good as a nondisabled life. This
implies that a person would rather live 9 years without the small disability than
ten years with it. On Singers view, this implies that we should cure one persons
small disability rather than save someone else so that he can live for an additional
year. It also implies that we should cure the small disability in twenty-one people
rather than save someone so that he can live for an additional ten years. This sort of
problematic reasoning may have led to the rationing plan in Oregon many years ago
in which resources were to be allocated to cap many peoples teeth rather than save a
few peoples lives (for further discussion see Kamm 2007, chapter 2).
The concern with always aggregating small benefits can also be independent of
concern to give priority to treating those more severely ill. For suppose all patients
have the same disability. We have a choice of making very small improvements to the
disability in each of a great many patients or providing a complete cure to one patient.
It would not be morally unreasonable (and might not be unfair) to do the latter, for we
then make a significant difference in this persons life rather than a barely perceptible

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difference to each of many others. This is so even though aggregating the many barely
perceptible differences creates an enormous total difference.5
3. Notice that in many of the cases we have considered, if a particular person is
not helped, he will certainly suffer a great loss and be worse off than others who would
certainly avoid only small losses and already be better off than he. But we may also
consider the role of risk in deciding what is fair. We know that it can be reasonable
for each individual to take a small risk of a great loss such as losing many years of
life by dying if this is the price of achieving a high probability of lesser benefits. For
example, someone might run a small risk of dying from an aspirin in order to get a
high probability of relief from a nonlethal headache. If everyone in a community does
this, in a large enough population it is certain that someone will die from an aspirin
though each person had only a very small chance of dying. It seems morally permissible to allow individuals to expose themselves to such a small risk of the large loss
of life for the sake of a small benefit. This is so even if we know that someone will die
because he took the risk and because when he is dying there will be nothing we can
do to save him. However, this need not mean that when it is still possible to save this
person whose risk of dying has gone from small to certain, or when there are certain
people who were always known to be at great risk of dying, fairness does not require
aiding them if we can rather than protecting many people from each having a headache (One place in which I discuss this issue is Kamm 2008).
Suppose there are a few people who will certainly die unless we treat them.
Should we treat them or rather use our scarce resources to stop a small risk of death
to many others when it is certain that more than a few of these many will face certain
death as well? This is the situation we may face when deciding whether to allocate
scarce funds to combat AIDS by either treating those already ill or preventing future
cases. Suppose fewer people overall will die from AIDS if the money is put into prevention than if it is put into treatment, and so prevention is most cost effective. But
prevention deals with a small risk that each of many people has of dying while treatment deals with some people who will otherwise certainly die. (Notice that to make
sure it is only the known probability of any given person dying whose relevance to
an allocation decision we are judging, we should hold constant the time at which
those already ill and those who will become ill would die. Otherwise, we may be
judging the relevance to an allocation decision of sooner rather than later deaths,
not greater or smaller probabilities each person has of dying.) It is true that without
5.Larry Temkin has emphasized this point.
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prevention more people who once had only a small risk of getting AIDS will eventually face certain death. But at the time we must decide how to spend funds there are
certain people who already have a known prognosis of certain death if they are not
treated now whereas it is not the case that there are already some people in the larger
group who have a known prognosis of certain death if prevention measures are not
taken now. Rather there are many people each of whom has a small chance of being
a person who will face certain death. So we must choose between helping those who
will certainly die and those who each have a small chance of facing death.6
On at least one view, fairness seems to require helping those with a higher individual risk of dying as ascertained by a pair wise comparison of the risks each person
faces at the time we must allocate resources. This is because if we engage in pairwise
comparison, we could justify to each person with the low risk of death not helping
him and helping the person who will certainly die instead. By contrast, it seems we
could not justify to the person who will certainly die leaving him to help each of
those who have a small chance of death. On this view, it is individuals comparative
risk at the time we must allocate, not the ultimate outcome in which more rather than
fewer people will die, which should lead us to allocate the money to the less cost effective treatment policy. This is so even if fairness requires saving the greater number of
people when these are all people who face certain death if not helped.
4. Another possible fairness concern with CEA is that it might involve discrimination against those who are poor or disabled as it may cost more to treat these
people by contrast to the rich or nondisabled, and the health benefits achieved may
also be less. Peter Singer relies on CEA when he argues that if we accept that disability can make a persons life less good health wise, and we want to maximize the health
benefits we get with our resources, we should save the life of a nondisabled person
rather than someone whose disability cannot be cured, other things equal. The only
alternative to this, he says, is to deny that disability per se makes someones life not
as good health-wise, and then there would be no reason to allocate resources to cure
or prevent disabilities which seems wrong. However, there are other alternatives, I
I agree that understanding the issue of disability and allocation of scarce resource should not depend on accepting the view that disabilities make little difference to the quality of life. For if we hold this view, we may see little reason to invest
6.This analysis of the case is argued for by Norman Daniels (2012) and Johann Frick (2013 and
unpublished) though they may not hold time of death constant.
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in curing disabilities. We should also recognize that a satisfied mood is not the sole
measure of the goodness of ones life, independent of objective capacities. Consistent
with all this one proposed response to a view like Singers is offered by Eric Nord,
Norman Daniels and Mark Kamlet in their article (2009).7 They think it is important
to distinguish two different questions. The first is: Is a health state one we would
prefer to cure? Suppose we answer yes. A second question arises if we have this
health state and it cannot be cured but life is still worth living, and we also have a lifethreatening treatable condition but the medicine is scarce. The second question as
stated by the authors is: Should we defer to those who can be restored to more complete health than we can because they lack the untreatable condition? The authors
say we can reasonably answer yes to the first questionwe would prefer a cure to
the health stateand no to the second question. They do not say what explains the
reasonableness of these responses. Given the way their second question is phrased,
it might be thought that one simple explanation is that the person with one untreatable condition does not have a duty to defer because he does not have a moral duty to
sacrifice what is very important to him (his life) to produce the outcome that would
be considered best from an impartial point of view. The fact that this view, which is
standardly held by those who reject consequentialism, might explain the consistency
of the first and second answers suggests to me that the second question as phrased by
Nord, Daniels and Kamlet is the wrong one to pose if we want to get to the heart of
the issue in allocating scarce resources.
This is because it should be an impartial distributor who is allocating the resources, not a candidate for the resource and the mere fact that a candidate need not
defer to another candidate does not mean that the impartial distributor must give
these people the same chance of treatment. Analogously, someone need not give up
his medicine that will save his leg so that someone else may use it to save his own two
legs. But if the drug is publicly owned and to be distributed by an impartial agent, he
should prefer to help the person who would otherwise lose two legs. So a crucial issue
in dealing with Singers CEA-inspired view is whether, if an impartial distributor
says yes to the first question, this distributor should also decide to treat the person
who can be restored to more complete health. In my own past work (first in Kamm
2004), I have been interested in the answer to this question (which I shall refer to as
the impartial question).
7.Nornan Daniels brought my attention to what was said in this article in his commentary at a
panel in February 2013.
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Suppose I am the impartial distributor. When I imagine a case in which someone
has a paralyzed finger, I can see that this can make life not as good in a small way, other
things equal, and give us a reason to fix the disability. Hence, my answer to the first
question is yes. But when I consider whether to save someones life from pneumonia
when I can only save one person, the fact that one of the people I would save has a
missing finger and the other has all his fingers should, I think, make no difference to
whom I choose, given the important benefit that is at stake for each person and that
each person desires to be the one to live. Hence, I should answer no to the impartial
question. One explanation I have suggested for this is that a factor (such as a missing
finger) could give us a reason to act in one context (curing it) while it is an irrelevant
consideration in another context where the action in question (saving a life) is different. So it was an instance of what I call contextual interaction.8
However, suppose a nondisabled candidate for a scarce life saving surgery will
live for twenty years after it and a disabled candidate will live for only two years
because his disability interferes with doing exercise after surgery. A large difference
in length of life in the outcome might be a morally relevant difference between the
candidates, and that might make it not be unfair to do the surgery on the nondisabled
candidate, given that each will die if not helped. This is so even if we would be using
an effect of the undeserved or unjustified disadvantage in the disabled as grounds for
choosing to impose further disadvantage on him.
Furthermore, consider another case about which we ask the first question and
the impartial question. Suppose we agree paraplegia is a deficit that we should prefer
to cure. Now imagine two people with paraplegia who each need to be saved from
fatal heart disease. The only difference between them is that in one of the people
the scarce heart disease medicine will also cure his paraplegia. This is also a case in
which one candidate has an untreatable condition (paraplegia) and a treatable one
(heart disease) and another candidate lacks the untreatable condition (because his
paraplegia can be cured). I suggest that it might be right for the impartial distributor of a scarce resource to choose to save the candidate whose paraplegia will also
be cured rather than the other candidate. However, I think that this is not simply
8. One counterargument to this that Singer also gives is meant to show that it is reasonable to
connect the answer to the first question to an answer to the impartial question. This is because, he
thinks, the morally right way for an impartial allocator to decide is determined by what any person
would decide reasoning about his possible future state when he is ignorant of which person he will
be. I do not think this is correct and argue against it in Kamm (2013). But it is useful to see an argument, aside from maximizing good outcomes, that has been thought to connect a yes answer to the
first question to a yes answer to the impartial question.
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because being alive with paraplegia is worse than being alive with full mobility (other
things equal) and CEA rates a treatment as more effective if a person is saved to a
life of higher rather than lower quality. Rather, it has something to do with how bad
paraplegia is and with our medical procedure causing the paraplegia cure. For my
sense is that its not being unfair to treat the second person whose paraplegia we can
cure does not imply that in a different case it would be fair to treat the heart condition of someone who is not paralyzed independently of what we do rather than treat
a permanently paralyzed person who also has the treatable heart condition.9
These two heart cure cases suggest that a possible problem with CEA is that it
does not distinguish the first case, in which our treatment is more cost effective in
one candidate because it saves a life and also causes the change in disability status,
from the second case in which our treatment is more cost effective in one candidate
only because it saves someone who is already nondisabled independent of our doing
anything to cure him of disability. However, the two heart cases do not suggest that if
each of two people has a paralyzed finger and a scarce life-saving drug that each needs
to save his life will unparalyze the finger in only one of the people, that we should give
that person the medicine. That a condition is one that we would prefer to cure does
not mean that it is serious enough in itself that our being able to cure it in one person
but not another should make a difference to whom we give a drug needed by each for
a much more serious condition.
5. Conclusion: In this article, I have considered several views about what fairness
requires and allows, in conditions of certainty and risk, and how CEA understood in
its strongest form may conflict with fairness. It has not been my aim to decide which
conception of fairness is correct or to decide how important fairness is relative to
other moral considerations. Nor has it been my aim to deny that cost effectiveness
should sometimes play a role in allocating scarce resources. However, if the value of
maximizing good outcomes relative to cost is neither a preeminent value nor necessarily fair, there are bound to be moral questions about limits on the use of CEA that
will need to be resolved.
Acknowledgements: I am grateful to Julian Savulescu and a reader for the Journal of
Practical Ethics for comments.

9. I consider this issue in more detail in (Kamm 2013), a revised version of (Kamm 2009)
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Daniels, Norman. Reasonable Disagreement about Identified vs.Statistical Victims Hastings
Center Report, 42, no.1 (2012), 35- 45
Frick, Johann. Uncertainty and Justifiability to Each Person: Response to Fleurbaey and
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